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Agricultural Policy, Crop Failure and the 'Ruriganiza' Famine (1989) in Southern Rwanda: a Prelude to Genocide ?


  • Philip Verwimp


The paper analyses the agricultural policy of the Habyarimana regime, which ruled Rwanda from 1973 to 1994. Econometric analysis of rural household survey data is used to investigate the effects of the 1989 crop failure in southern Rwanda on children’s health status. The paper shows that children in southern Rwanda are chronically malnourished, more then in other prefectures of Rwanda. It is shown that the 1989 crop failure developed into famine and the causes of this development are investigated. It turns out that the Habyarimana regime did not respond to early warnings of famine conditions and pretend it did not know what was going on. The relationship between this non-response to famine, agricultural policy in general and the 1994 genocide is demonstrated.

Suggested Citation

  • Philip Verwimp, 2002. "Agricultural Policy, Crop Failure and the 'Ruriganiza' Famine (1989) in Southern Rwanda: a Prelude to Genocide ?," Working Papers Department of Economics ces0207, KU Leuven, Faculty of Economics and Business, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:ete:ceswps:ces0207

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    Cited by:

    1. Tollens, Eric, 2003. "Poverty And Livelihood Entitlement, How It Relates To Agriculture," Working Papers 31856, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Centre for Agricultural and Food Economics.

    More about this item


    agriculture; famine; survey research; Rwanda;

    JEL classification:

    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • Q18 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Agricultural Policy; Food Policy

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